Saturday, February 14, 2015

Game of inches

I've been reading about the criminology Broken Windows Theory and it's made me appreciate a perspective I've tried to stay away from.  Basically, the idea of Broken Windows is fix the little things and big problems will get better.  In New York, the theory was put into practice a while back to clean graffiti and make sure people paid for the subway.  Little things as far as crime in New York goes.

There's lots of statistics that are attractive and lots of data out there saying that this was a good idea. The evidence-based thinking appeals to me a lot.

For a long time, I've been trying not to 'sweat the small stuff'.  I've tried to focus on the big and material things.  Figure out what's important and don't worry too much about the rest.  I am rethinking that.

This theory obviously extends beyond criminology.  The things that stay with me and probably everyone else are the little things.  Every interaction is a chance, an opportunity, to have a great interaction...or a not-so-great one.  Each interaction like a possible baby step to something better; each one a chance to be a better husband, dad, and person.  After a bunch of baby steps I can end up in a very different place.

Maybe the better way to think about everything is pretty much the opposite, 'sweat the small stuff'.

Saturday, January 31, 2015


Zahra has written about our morning routine a couple times.  It's had me thinking more and more about my routine...

I have read about the physical and mental health benefits of kids having a routine.  There are many.  I'm very happy to help make a routine for them.  I try to do many things with them regularly and even daily.  It seems to be working.  The kids know what to do and what's expected.  We've made it pretty structured.  I've watched them grow and enjoy the routine.

I've become aware lately that I really appreciate this routine.  Making a routine for them has become as much a part of my day as theirs.  It compartmentalizes the parts of my day and gives me the ability to focus better on what's happening now.  I look forward to the parts of my day that I get to share with Zahra, Yusuf, and Nooriya.  Compartmentalizing the other parts of my day lets me truly be there more.  That makes it even better.

I get routine in a way that I didn't before and it makes me realize how important it is for me to be a part of their routine.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Fresh start

This past two weeks have not been the nice and comfortable routine I've come to love.  The kids are off from school, I'm home with Zahra and the kids most of these last two weeks of the year.  I had been making plans to spend lots and lots of family time; just the four of us.  My world has become so sharply focused on the four of us lately.

The surprise of dad's heart condition changed those plans.  Family and friends descended upon him.  The circumstances weren't great, but a lifetime of connections were reestablished.  I saw familiar faces of those I see often and those I haven't seen for some time.  Even many faces that were new to me.  I was asked to pass on salaams from so many people; I even can't remember how many.

I was so pleased with the family response.  And with the support I got to be there; thanks Zahra:) It is tiring, but so much easier not being in it alone.  Alhamdolillah, dad has come through with flying colors and in a few weeks he'll feel like he has a new lease on life.

Last night, he came home after 11 nights in the hospital.  He came home to a full house of sons, daughters and grandkids.  Looking around and taking it in, dad took my hand and cried some tears of joy and told me how he's so happy and he wants our family to continue together for generations to come.  I absorbed what I can only guess is a fraction of the perspective he was sharing.  It was a beautiful moment.

It's sometimes challenging being an adult and having parents.  My dad did something right for a long time though.  I had this unconscious desire (probably instilled over a long time) to be around and help however I could.  Strong enough that I believe it's Zahra's desire too.  It's got me thinking about what I have to do to have the same thing many years from now.  I want to be able to look around years from now and be surrounded by my people.  Minus the heart surgery:P

At 74, dad is still teaching me.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Let me fix that for you

I was drawing with Nooriya.  Mostly I was sitting with her and just spending time with her while trying to block out the rest of the world.  We do this all the time; it's awesome.  This time she had me draw a bird.  I did.  She proceeded to erase it completely and say to me, "let me fix that for you".  And then later she said, "you just sit there and I'll take care of it".

Then later Yusuf did something all by himself that I'm used to helping him with.  It's been happening over time, but today it hit me all of a sudden.  Yusuf and Nooriya aren't little anymore.  I know that'll be a ridiculous thing to read when I come back in years when they're actually big.

All of a sudden it was them trying to take care of me when I'm so used to trying to take care of them.  I gather I'll never stop trying.  I'm not sure what my point is, but I do want to write down this memory and come back to read this.

My family is somehow getting even better.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Tortoise and the hare

I've heard this story many many times over the years. It's pretty simple and I've absorbed the message a little bit more every time. It's a nice reminder, but there's really nothing new. "Slow and steady wins the race". Pretty simple. 

I heard another telling recently that has given the story a deeper meaning  for me. The story continues after the race. The hare is in the hospital disgruntled and upset. He's just been diagnosed with cancer. The tortoise visits the hare in the hospital. Old friends talking about the race. The hare can't accept that he could be dying; he is a racer and just ran a race. Their conversation is great and it ends with the tortoise blowing the hare's mind letting him know "it was never a race".

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Close call

I had a very close call this morning. A possibly life ending moment. It's a couple hours later and my heart is still racing. 

The details are irrelevant now. I'm of two minds even writing this. I'd just as soon forget or pretend like it didn't really happen. 

I had a rare second-chance moment.  Everything important came into focus and everything else faded. I was jarred into realizing most of the stuff on my mind faded away. 

I'm sooooooo lucky to have a second chance. I'm pretty sure third chances are much more rare. I'll just come back and read this. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Awesomeness Factor

I've been reading up about positive illusions after hearing about it.  It basically means having a really good attitude about something....unreasonably so.  It's thinking that somethings are disproportionately above average.  I come across this at work all the time.  My math and economics background tell me to take this optimism with a grain of salt.  I am quick to discount when I hear rose-colored predictions at work.

Apparently, there's more to this.  Some psychology study concluded thinking someone is great is a predictor of a good relationship.  And this is a poem I want to come back and read

Love to faults is always blind,
Always is to joy inclin'd,
Lawless, wing'd, and unconfin'd,
And breaks all chains from every mind.
--William Blake

AND like some cool Yoda-mind-trick if you think something is awesome it will be even  more awesome.  That's kind of amazing at first, but then...duh.  All that's required is thinking something is awesome.

Zahra you're awesome and you'll somehow be awesome-er tomorrow.  Thank you and you're welcome:P